The Akwa Ibom government has said that it would collaborate tertiary institutions to develop the educational sector for the goal of forging a veritable academic environment for every Akwa Ibom child.
Governor Udom Emmanuel stated this at the second/thirdconvocation ceremony of Ritman University, Ikot Ekpene, where total of 194 graduates bagged various degrees of the university.
Addressing the graduands comprising 75 from the 2019/2020 and 199 from the 2020/2021 academic year, Governor Emmanuel who was represented by the deputy governor, Mr Moses Ekpo, said that given the disruption of the academic calendar by the Covid-19 pandemic, Ritman University, which was established in 2015, has attained a great feat in contributing to the educational development of the state.
The governor explained that he was at the event to register his presence and appreciate the founder and visitor to the institution, Senator Emmanuel Ibokessien, the management and stakeholders of Ritman University for the foresight, commitment and efforts in birthing and managing the institution.
He said he was particularly happy that Akwa Ibom was blessed with three privately owned universities: Obong University, Ritman University and Topfaith University which be added had broadened the opportunity for university admissions for Akwa Ibom children. Mr Emmanuel noted that these institutions have adequately answered to the call by government for private sector involvement on the educational development of the state.
The state chief executive maintained that the response had assisted in the implementation of government policy of equipping children for excellent competition in the race for a place and ascendancy in the digital age.
He congratulated the graduating students, stressing that it was his hope that beyond the academic and other skills acquired, they would internalize those qualities as discipline of character, a resilient and dogged spirit to succeed in life.
The governor congratulated the new chancellor of the university, Bishop Camillus Umoh, whom he qualified as an academic bishop who would bring his wealth of experience to bear on the fortunes of the institution.
He also commended the management of the university for deeming it necessary to confer an honorary doctorate degree on Conflict Resolution on HRM, Chief Ateke Tom, from Okrika in Rivers State.
The visitor to the university, Senator Emmanuel Ibokessien, said Ritman University was granted provisional licence by the National Universities Commission (NUC) in 2015 with a maiden convocation of 23 pioneer graduates in 2019, while 75 others graduated at the 2019/2020 academic session, but could not convoke due to the Covid-19 pandemic.
He told the gathering that last year, the Institute of Chartered Accountants of Nigeria (ICAN) recognised and accredited the Department of Accounting, while the institution now run the Joint University Preliminary Examination Board (JUPEB) to prepare students for direct entry admission programme.
On student and staff welfare, the visitor who is also the founder of the institution, said the state-of- the -art cafeteria has been commissioned for use, while efforts were being made to provide steady power supply and efficient e-library due to increased investments in Internet connectivity and services.
The vice chancellor of the university, Professor Celestine Ntuen, said that this year’s event featured the 2019/2020 and the 2020/2021 session with 1999 graduates. He stated that while the 2019/2020 churned out seven first class, 40 second class upper, 27 second class lower and one third class, the 2020/2021 session passed out four first class, 56 second class upper and 59 second class lower.
Professor Ntuen stated that the governing council and Senate of Ritman University approved the commencement of six academic programmes in 2019/2020 academic year through the authority of the National Universities Commission (NUC) and listed the programmes as Biochemistry, Cyber Security, Industrial Chemistry, Microbiology, Software Engineering and Mass Communication.
Two students, Akudke Ifeanyi Stephen and Ben Jemsima Noami, who obtained a Cumulative Grade Point Average (CGPA) of 4.8 and 4.7, bagged automatic employment and postgraduate scholarship from the institution.
They received cash award of N100,000 while nine others who made first class got automatic employment and cash prize of N50,000